Could Brexit cause a rise in Irish tax evasion?

1st February 2017

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union has certainly raised a lot of concerns and questions, not least so for Ireland. Following the exit – whenever that may be – the island will have one state (Northern Ireland) outside of the EU, while the Republic of Ireland will remain in it. This has raised the question around border controls, specifically in relation to shared documentation and communication in order to clamp down on tax evasion and fraud.

Criminal activity

There have been particular concerns raised surrounding fuel and tobacco smuggling by ex-IRA gangs, a practice that has largely been overhauled as a result of cross-border co-operation which saw the introduction of a new fuel marker to make it more difficult to launder diesel, for example.

However, it’s been suggested that such criminal gangs could take advantage of Brexit, potentially increasing the scope for tax evasion, with East Londonderry MP, Gregory Campbell, raising the question; “will a multi-million pound industry which has grown up through the Troubles be exacerbated by international criminal gangs using the border?”

There are talks of an inter-governmental economic organisation to help tackle evasion across the Irish border post-Brexit, but, as with all Brexit questions, much is yet to be discussed and agreed.

Global tax evasion challenges

This is just one example of the challenges now facing authorities, businesses and individuals alike when it comes to monitoring cross-border activity. However, it’s clear that there is a global commitment to ensuring any fraudulent behaviour is prevented, so it’s vital that contractors working internationally and those agencies that place them are aware of both the legal requirements and the potential repercussions for any untoward activity.

Speak to the 6CATS team to find out how we can help you and your contractors remain compliant and avoid hefty fines or even criminal charges.

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